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(AQ) The Path to Greatness: A You Choose Story

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7/9/2008 15:29:21   
Legendary Loremaster

The Path to Greatness is an experimental story. The fiction will unfold and end with a choice or decision that will be left for the readers to decide how the story progresses. The direction of readers will help deteremine how the story unfolds and what the results are for the characters within the story. The Polls will run for a while and then the story will be updated with a new chapter that concludes with a new poll.

The current poll can be voted on and comments on the Story can be made here

I will be continuing this story and adding more polls as time allows... please stay tuned...

Design Note: As of 2007/01/22 the events of this story are still all in the "future" relative to the current plotline of LORE however the events herein should NOT be considered to be taking place in an alternate timeline

Design Note: As of 2007/05/09 the events of this story are still all in the present or "near-future" relative to the current plotline of LOREt tell the events from a different perspective

< Message edited by Helixi -- 4/19/2012 19:01:58 >
Post #: 1
5/4/2005 13:45:00   
Legendary Loremaster

My name is Thorne Lorin and I am knight in the Order of Lorithia. Please call me Thorne. You may wonder why I do not go by Sir Thorne. It is true I am entitled to use the honorary title, but the Order of Lorithia frowns upon such formalities. As a servant of the knights of the Order my purpose is the protection of Creation and service to the Creator goddess Lorithia, who birthed the world in ages long past. The knighthood however has strong ideas about what that means and sometimes they seem very difficult to follow. This story is about some of those experiences and of the Order's learning of the return of the Devourer, who the Drakel kind call Uncreator, The'galin.

The Devourer makes things pretty complicated, you see even though he seeks to destroy all Creation, he is part of creation himself. So while we must try to stop him and his evil plans, knights of the order must also try to save him from his foolishness and change him. This seems like madness I know, but maybe now you know why I said the Job of a Knight of the Order is so complicated.

On the morning that this narrative started I had just returned to Lolosia, where I maintain my residence from an expedition oversea to the Continent of Vandar. One of the perks of being a knight is the opportunity to travel alot. Did I say opportunity? Its more like an obligation. Our job requires that we investigation the presence and actions of the uncreator wherever it is evidenced and consequently we must travel an awful lot. Anyway I had just returned from Vandar, a long journey which had unfortunately been fruitless, when I got message from my Council Knight about odd activity that had been seen in my absence.

"Drakel Seen in Skraeling Desert" One of the notes proclaimed.

"Greenguard Orcish village seeks aid" said the other.

I weighed both of these notes contemplatively. That the Drakel were wandering in the dessert so far from their mountain homes seemed most peculiar. Since the Drakel were keenly aware of the movements of the Uncreator, as they called him, the presence of Drakel in Skraeling was bound to be significant.

On the otherhand the Orcs, normally a proud people quite capable of their own military prowess had requested the help of the order. Our code makes no exceptions for the foolishness of predjudices. If the Orcs had been moved to seek our aid, the situation they were in must be quite dire.

Where should Thorne go?

< Message edited by falerin -- 5/5/2005 20:33:23 >
Post #: 2
5/6/2005 14:17:04   
Legendary Loremaster

After debating the matter for an hour or so, I decided that I would go to Aid the Orcs in Greenguard. Their message sounded urgent, and was thus more pressing. Besides, I could cross the mountains into Skraeling if time allowed, past history suggested the Drakel often searched an area quite extensively for some time. Not wanting to waste anymore time I went quickly to Gibet's and purchased some minimal travel supplies. If I needed to be out longer then I expected I could always stop at Battleon to replenish. I drafted a quick note to my superiors indicating my travel plans, dropped it with the courier, and mounted my horse for the arduous trek southwest to Greenguard.

By early evening, I had cleared the Dwarfhold Pass and was nearing Krovesport. I considered my options carefully. While I was quite sure that I could handle myself against the rouges of the city if I stayed there for the night, unwanted conflict might delay my mission to aid the Orcs. This possibility was rendered even more likely since it was rapidly approaching nightfall.

Should Thorne Enter Krovesport or Journey around it? (This is a Quick Choice Poll and will expire in 2 hours)
Post #: 3
5/9/2005 15:32:26   
Legendary Loremaster

After debating the issue I decided that visiting Krovesport was not benefitial. I had enough supplies to last far longer already, and venturing into a theives den was asking for trouble that I did not need to otherwise face. The knighthood might encourage members of the order to be brave, but they definitely did not encourage them to be stupid.

Deciding it best to put some distance between myself and the theives city before sleeping I pressed on well into the night. Finally I stopped a few miles from the Crossroads and made my camp for the evening. After bedding my horse and eating a quick repast, I secured my perimeter and bedded down for the night.

The night past with out event other then my dreams which were unusually vivid. Which is not to say I recalled any details about them in the morning. I could just grasp the intense colors and sensations but they quickly faded with the rising of the sun.

Being fully replenished my horse and I decided to make a direct cross across the grasslands and made quick work of the travel from the crossroads through Farthwark Woods. By the time I came to the great clearing that marks the divide between Farthwark and the proper forest of Greenguard, I began to grow uneasy. I was familiar with these woods having visited them many times in my many years of service to Lorithia. My godess' work carried me into many situations and thus the situation raised many alarms. It was not so much a problem of things I saw or heard, as it was a problem of what I did not experience. The area was far too silent for my liking. There was no signs of the normal midspring wildlife, no rustle of wind through the trees. While the sun was warm and bright in the blue sky I was cold and chilled to my bones by a sense of growing forboding.

Regardless of my sense of unease I had a job to do and fully intended to do it so I crossed with deliberation into Greenguard and followed my directions in to the village which was the home to Greenguards Orcish population. I thought about this village in the midst of the great wood with sadness not for the first time. There was once I time where Greenguard's orcish population was as diverse and as well represented as its elven denizens. Gulgin Dar was a small outpost village but Greenguard had once been home to much large populations. Unfortunately time had not been kind to the Greenguard Orcs. Mostly because of ancient and traditional enmties and predjudices. Greenguard had been a Bastion of Orchish culture but too many were willing to forget that fact in favor of the false illusion that the Orcs had no culture.

"Gulak dimargi" I said, a mourning prayer in high Orchish, a language now more practiced by linguistic scholars and Orchish magi and shamans then by the general populace. As with most peoples they had developed a sort of vulgar argot that addopted the language of the cultures arround them. For the Orcs of Greenguard this was Mostly Continental Common but with a smattering of Moglin and Elven besides.

"Gulak Dimargi" a melodic voice agreed and I turned somewhat startled to see an elven figure standing before me. "You are Sir Thorne are you not"

"I am Thorne. The title is mine but I prefer it not be employed"

"As you will then. I am Kendrel welcome to Greenguard."

"Thank you. Though I must confess I know not why it would be an Elani who would greet me when those who seek my Aid are members of the Ulgathi"

"I can comprehend your unease Lord Thorne" he said and I inwardly shuddered at this even more inappropriate honorarium "But i assure you I am here only becase Margu has sent me as his emissary to aid you in finding the village"

I considered this carefully, Margu was the cheiftan of the Orchish village, this much I knew, but the idea that he would send an Elani, the elvenfolk as his emissary was startling, though perhaps no more startling then the fact that the Ulgathi had called upon the orders succor to begin with. To question Kendrel's authenticity would be an unforgivable breech of curtosey so I merely accepted the oddity at face value. Though I will confess to being a bit more vigilant then normal. I silently followed Kendrel into Gulgin Dar. A number of Ulgathi children saw my approach and sent up seemingly delighted cries of "Humie!" or "Nugaht!" and they ran though the city. Kendrel lead me into the cheiftans long house and I was startled to see several of the Ulgathi Warriors issue a rather perfect imitation of a Elani ritual bow at his approach.

"Margu" Kendrel said approaching an elderly Orc who rested at the long tables head. "The humie has come as I promised he would"

Kendrels voice possessed such love and affection that I immediately felt immense guilt for supsecting that there was something amiss in the Elani's presence in Gulgin Dar.

The weary elderly Orc looked up at Kendrel with a bemused expression half a smirk and half a smile. "I have not yet gone completely blind Elf. I can see that."

Kendrel laughed and with a bow turned to leave but Margu placed his hand upon Kendrel's shoulder and drew him into a rather rough Hug, a sign of affection common among the tribal peoples but somewhat rare among the Elani who viewed love in more intellectual terms. However far from seeming discomforted by the old Ulgathi's affection Kendrel feircely returned the gesture in true Orchish fashion. He gave deference to this orchish custom much as the orcs who greeted Kendrel gave deference to the elves customs when he arrived.

"Dubu meeb Elb frend! Fer lat hulp me pushdug sharkû" The orc said and waved

"Your not that old" Kendrel laughed and responded in Elani quite deliberately not answering the first part of the declaration. Margu laughed aloud and slapped his knee.

"Ug Der Humie" Margu said after kendrel had left.

"Gulak dimargi" I said

"Gulak dimargi" he echoed "but it is nub the fall of Greengaurd I murn this day frend humie"

"You switch between High Orcish, Low Orcish, Human and even Elbai with some ease"

"Dak'ye" he said using an alternate transliteration of thanks one that was more light and flippant

"Kendrel suggested you called me"

"Yes" Margu said pointedly "He has had more dealings with your order. There are Elani in the order in fact"

"There are Ulgathi too" I said considerately "But not many and none currently on this continent so your point is well taken"

"I must presume your need is great Margu what causes the Orcs of Greenguard to send for the Order of Lorithia"

"It is our Children"

"I beg your pardon?"

"Our children Humie.... They are disappering in the dead of night and we neither see nor sense the enemy. Our mages and shamans can tell us nothing. 2 dozen families already have lost loved ones to what ever monster is taking our children. We sought aid from Kendrel first for he has long been a friend even though our kinds are traditionally at odds. Kendrel used his formidable skill at tracking but he too found nothing. We are at a loss. We lose a child a night. At this rate the Ulgathi will have no future in mere days."

I considered Margu's words with solemn dread, A child stealer....

"Will you help us Humie"

"There is no question of that Margu, I said definitively. It is both a priviledge and an honor bound duty to help your people. The question is merely where to begin?

How should Thorne start?

< Message edited by falerin -- 5/9/2005 16:04:13 >
Post #: 4
5/11/2005 19:57:30   
Legendary Loremaster

"I will need your best warriors Margu, and Kendrel's aid as well..." We will needto guard the village perimeter thoroughtly.... As to the children we move them to a public place and keep them awake all night an inn or tavern would serve bestbut other then a few of your most watchful we do not want to increase guard arround the tavern, if anything we wish to focus somewhere, anywhere, where the children are not and hope that we can spring a trap for our assailants..."

"As you say humie" Margu said and he gave a command to several of his chamber guards and people began to move following the will of their chieftan without question.

A short while later Kendrel and I stood together in the Long Room, Margu was elsewhere ordering an evening feast be prepared.

"Far be it for me to question your plan Lord Thorne but it is flawed deeply and may lead to much misery...." Kendrel whispered his face unreadable for the moment but his tone suggesting deep concern.

"Is it?" I asked listening carefully to what Kendrel was saying but already aware of the flaws he would point out. The truth was that I had planned for the very possibility that Kendrel's fears were valid... The Children of Gulgin Dar would be far far away from the Tavern come evening. I had merely suggested that course to seem to be doing something different and logical while I formullated plans of my own...

"Your plan assumes two very possibly faulty assumptions about the abductors of the children of Gulgin Dar. One that the abductors do not have some means of sensing where their targets are and two that the abductors do not have some conspirator among the people...."

"Is that so?" I said eyeing Kendrel carefully. I had told Margu much the same thing after he had dismissed the guard about their buisness while the two of us were very much alone. It was critical that as few people as possible were aware of the true nature of my intention. I began to worry that I had not done enough research about the activity in Greenguard but little could be done. I prayed that I could prevent another child from being taken from Gulgin Dar... but I fully expected that I would need to call in additional aid to help defend the Children here.

"Yes it is" Kendrel said. "We cannot assume the people of the village are innocent"

"Nor can we presume that just because they are orcs they are guilty Elani" I snapped back with far more vehemence then I actually felt....

Kendrel looked deeply wounded by this statement and even more so by my next words...

"It has not escaped my attention that the Elani and the Ulgathi have often been at each others throats and that you are here quite conveniently when these events are happening... "

"I assure you that I am quite Loyal to the Ulgathi of Gulgin Dar...and especially to Margu himself. We have been friends since my childhood and you do me a grave disservice by suggesting I have ill intent it was I who suggested the Order of Lorithia be called in the first place, hardly something I would do if In fact I was guilty... "

I considered letting Kendrel off the hook and revealing to him my intention. If I read the man correctly he was feircely loyal to Margu and could be trusted but allowing too many people to know to soon was folly.... The magical force required to send the children of Gulgin Dar elsewhere during the wee hours of the night so that they would safe was astronomical. The plan required precise timing. If someone who was loyal to whatever beast was responsible for this gained the slightest intention that I planned not only to guard nonexistent children but that the children would be long gone from Gulgin Dar as well the enemy may move early... and if that happened I would be grossly over extended....

"I would not expect you to say anything different...." I said coldly and turned away from Kendrel "If you truely are loyal to Margu you will prove it... if you are not you will be found out...."

I focused on the smells of meat being spit fired in the distance to distract myself from my feelings of guilt over mistreating Kendrel. In the next hour our so the gathering of people in the village square arround the fire pit took the focus of the village entirely.... As the villagers allowed the celebration to distract them from their worries if only for a second things seemed recharged in Gulgin Dar. I was amazed to note that Kendrel even ate the Ulgathi food without concern... he was far from the dainty Elani of popular misconception....In fact I became somewhat concerned by the sheer volume of Ale that Kendrel was pouring down his throat. If the Elani got himself wasted he would be quite useless to me.

"Ug der humie" Kendrel said approaching me with a second ale in hand which was shoved roughly into my hand.

That kendrel was greeting me in Low Orcish pained me, because it was even more clear the truth of Kendrel's devotion to the Ulgathi. Whomever told you that an Orc and an Elf could not be close allies, friends, even family, was lying or else spreading their own predjudices through the generations. "Ug der" I responded and took the ale taking this as my opportunity...

"Lokee Me!" I cried out and turned toward the gathering orcs "Har...." I laughed caught in the festival spirit the gutteral orchish laugh coming oddly naturally considering my human anatomy....

I turned then, nodding to Kendrel, before raising my Mug toward the heavens "Gulak Dimargi".

A chorus of "Gulak Dimargi" was returned to me... but I became aware of another sound beyond the cheering crowd a sort of low keening wail....The sound was familiar somehow and I was chilled by it. Somehow I had been found out that was certain and I had an idea now of how.... No ammount of magic could guard against beings who could invade the thoughts of their victims....

"Wut Dat" Kendrel asked dumbly for a moment and then his face becoming more resolved. "Whats that Noise"

"The Fallen"

"The What?"

"The Fallen"

"What are the Fallen?" Kendrel asked with confusion, and not without basis. Lesser Light Demons had been seen in Battleonia before but to my knowledge the Fallen had not themselves been seen here.....

"They were once servants of the Lord of Light but they are now enemies of my order and of creation....Servants of The'galin the devourer. They look like the legends some offworlders tell of Angels. Extrememly beautiful winged creatures with lavender colored wings and beautiful countenances... they are quite dangerous beings... though in recent years I have heard of even Brilhado, their own term for their race, who have rejected the Uncreator's service."

"That may be so" Kendrel said pointedly "But it is safe to assume that the beings harassing Gulgin Dar are not benevolent..."

"We assumed that the Drakel had found what they were seeking in GreenGuard" I said with a frown looking at Kendrel

"What's this?" Kendrel asked "What are you on about"

"The Drakel were searching for an artifact among the Elani of Greenguard, surely YOU are aware of that" I proclaimed running my words together in my frustration. It was a fault of mine that when upset I tended to act far to quickly and lost the metered scholarly precision that was my normal stock in trade.

"I heard something of the like yes....."

"The people of Battleon and beyond came to the aid of the Elani in that battle against the Drakel...."

"I am aware of that as well"

"We may yet live to regret that decision...."

"Gulak Dimargi" came a keening wail suddenly from the direction of the Mages encampment where the Shaman were preparing to send away the children... I moved rapidly across the village to the encampment and looked inside and was chilled to the bone... Several children were arround sobbing and the smell of blood and decay flooded my nostrils I turned to the sight before me... entrails coated the door and walls of the sending chamber and a river of blood filled the chamber...

"What happened!" I yelled turning to the oldest of the Ulgathi children "What happened here"

"We were brought here by Lerdu and Mugi... " The kid said shaking "The said they were sending us somewhere safe but as they got ready to do it a strange sound filled the clearing like people crying and screaming and then a Kresh and several undead came into the clearing being lead by a dark haired flying man with purple wings. He said that he would find what he was looking for and the people of Gulak Dar would help him.. Then he...."

The child choked and stopped speaking, trying to hold on to his honor as an Ulgathi warrior but I could guess well enough what it was he had to say... They had killed Lerdu and Mugi quite bloodily for their part in working against their plans....

"Did they take any of the children?" I demanded of the child "Were any of you taken"

"Feldur and Nagu" The kid choked and then finally broke into sobs ashamed of himself...

"Saddle my Horse!" I commanded and turned to Kendrel

"You dont plan to folllow them?" He said "You stand no chance on horseback...."

I choked back a biting response.... Kendrel had been victim of enough of my animosity

"I cannot just sit here.... those men were killed aiding my plan and those Children were abducted under my guard"

I considered my options carefully.. Clearly I had enough information that The'galin's forces were involved in these attacks and that alone would be enough to call in the aid of Central command... The Question is what did I do next....I could have aid here by the next morning but then what....Should I merely wait? Follow the Brilhado even though Kendrel considered it foolish? Maybe I should try to track down the Drakel in Skraeling, they had been searching here before the uncreator, presumably for the same thing perhaps I could learn what they were searching for to begin with....

< Message edited by falerin -- 5/11/2005 21:39:27 >
Post #: 5
5/13/2005 15:42:48   
Legendary Loremaster

The hours of late evening passed with relative uneventfullness. The people of Gulgin Dar were understandably upset but they cooperated with my plans as much as possible. By midnight my plans were finalized and I was ready to depart. Some wanted me to wait until first light but I knew well enough that travelling in a desert during the day, even one as small as Skraeling, was less then wise. I had debated following the Brilhado and part of me very much wanted to persue that course but several factors disuaded me. Not the least of which that they could both fly and wield powerful teleportative magics as will. Ulgathi and Elani scouts better then I had been on that case for days with no results, to allow my own injured pride to direct my actions toward vengeance would only play into their hands.

The decision to go after the Drakel was a complex one. I knew of Drakel that were easy to deal with, unfortunately none of them were native to this continent. The Drakel of Battleonia lacked a T'Palo as resourceful as Tralin of K'eld Ner. Worse they seemed a bit more willing then some of the Drakel to make deals with dark forces.

By the same token the Drakel were the worlds most ancient opposition to the Devourer. There was some evidence to suggest that they had been instrumental in the formation of my own order before withdrawing entirely into their walled cities. They among all creatures knew more about the Uncreator's dark plans then anyone. Given either sitting idly or attempting to gain further information I chose the latter course.

Choosing my traveling companions was an easier matter. Kendrel insisted on going with me, if the Drakel knew something about why innocent Ulgathi children were being abducted by The'galin's minions he was determined to find it. For the part of the Orchish village a rather able Young Ulgathi Shaman named Curak was selected. Curak it turned out was Margu's youngest son and was as dedicated to the Village as Margu himself. Further Culak had two young ones of his own and though they had not been among the taken till this point there was every reason to believe that given time the Ulgathi of Gulgin Dar would have no children whatsoever to return to.

The cheif debate was whether we should head north arround the mountain range and through Yenghaland, south skirting Varrinsqu Keep, or attempt to travel across the Guardian mountains into Skraeling dessert directly. This decision was not debated long, the Drakel were seen in the deep desert, Yenghaland and Varrinsqu would both take us to the desert extremes and while hiking over the mountain would cost us time it would not cost us nearly as much time as a long cross desert hike across Skraeling's shifting sands.

Further the Ulgathi were more then familiar with the mountain range and could locate a mountable pass with some ease which meant that we could travel mounted at least until we began our descent into the desert. While horses could survive the desert sands they were ill suited to do it mounted, especially at the pace we intended to set.

Ultimately however this debate was for nothing. Margu had ordered that the Ulgathi mages would send us into the Central Oasis of Skraeling directly, very near where the Drakel had last been seen digging in the shifting dessert sands. The mages would have to accomplish this without the aid of three of their number because Lerdu and Mugi had been murdered by the Brilhado and Curak needed to save his energy for what we might face in the desert. We gathered for a last moot in the central square, it was hard to believe that just hours earlier this had been the center of great festivity.

"We have gotten word that a contingent of 5 knights has been dispatched forthwith from headquarters in response to your summons Thorne. We are in your debt...."

"You owe me nothing Lord Margu" I replied "I have failed in my duty to you. My brethren are honor bound to clean up the mess I helped to create here...."

"Da globuurz humie!" Curak grunted shaking his head toward his father "Nubgruk em. De skah kaalguul bubhosh mojo. Gaakh!"

"Naarku me fergit dat ist prakh thingee The'galin"

"For heaven sakes tuupid humie" Kendrel said with a snort.... "He is not suggesting you do forget. He is suggesting you get real. The Brilhado slipped past us all.. not just you..."

Their attempts, though designed to comfort me, did little to ease my distress over the situation but I decided to follow Curak's last admontion and Gaakh, let it be.

We settled our afairs then and said our goodbyes....

"If anything can be done to restore your children to you... we will find it" I said matter of factly "Regardless the Brilhado will pay for their cowardly attack on the innocents of this village even should I die in the process..."

"Gug'ye" Margu said to us and then "May the Creative Impulse guide you"

I was moved near to tears to hear Margu utter an ancient blessing of my order and responded the only way that I could think of, not because I was overjoyed but because the battle was underway "Hoowah!"

And with that the transport took hold.....

< Message edited by falerin -- 5/14/2005 13:38:28 >
Post #: 6
5/14/2005 17:06:59   
Legendary Loremaster

The sensation was dizzing. I had avoided magical teleportation untill now because I had this deep seated fear that I would disappear and never reappear again, or worse reappear in some terrible situation like thosands of feet up in the air or in the middle of a stone mountain. It was rendered even more dizzying by the fact that I have moved directly eastward in the process. What was the dark of the post midnight morning was now becoming the gradually lightening sky of predawn in the desset. A cool breeze blew from the north and east and I glanced about me purposefully.

"Where do we go from here" Kendrel asked

"Gimbuur da Shara-naga" Curak said pointedly, Shara-naga was a relatively obscure word in High Ulgathi and I had to think for a moment to seek its meaning I thought it literally meant serpent kind, or serpent men. Neither was a very precise description but it was clear whom the term actually refered to. it was the High Orchish term for the Drakel.

"Clearly" I responded looking about the area "But where? Do we investigate the place where the Drakel were last seen or do we wait for the Oasis to awaken for buisness and seek information from the local citizenry"

Kendrel considered this "We have no guarantee the Drakel are anywhere near where they were last sighted they could be anywhere in the Desert given their means of transport."

Culak grunted and then said with a frown "Da muun ist duumat sharûk. Da muunglass ist nub frend ub de Ulgathi"

Wait or go or perhaps something else....

< Message edited by falerin -- 6/7/2005 10:19:04 >
Post #: 7
6/6/2005 13:20:37   
Legendary Loremaster

We had been wandering the desert for hours. Initially we had split at first into two groups, the first following the most likely search pattern of the Drakel and the second analyzing their most recent reported position. We had subsequently rejoined forces and we could see the Drakel encampment in front of us.

At least we presumed it to be the Drakel. The technology certainly matched but we could see no signs of life. What we saw instead was a vast excavation of desert which revealed a site the likes of which none of us had ever seen. Though I was well travelled as a dig on this scale was beyond my imagining.

What lay before me in the depths of the desert sand could only be described as a vast city. The architecture of the buildings long covered by the desert sands was amazingly intact. The beating of cenuries, even millenia, of weather had not broken the walls or destroyed the roofs. Indeed it was as if the desert had merely swallowed the city intact, an idea which seemed ludicrous, though I would come to learn was not far from the truth of the matter.

"Da Muun comin" Culak said causing me to look to the east and verify the fact that the horizon was slowly taking on the scarlet hues of dawn.

"We have several options as I see it" Kendrel said glancing toward the rising sun. "We can attempt to rush back to the Skraeling Oasis, we can make camp here in the hot desert sun, or we can descend into the cover of the buildings below and find what we may find...."

"If we do not make it to the oasis we will have to stop where we are in the desert and will be exhuasted...."

"Such is true.... however if we stay here we will be exposed to the unfiltered Skraeling sun for certain and we might in fact make it... as to descending into the ruins.... who can say what dangers lurk beneath the sands...."

"Da muun comin" Culak repeated ominously.... the choice was obviously mine...

What shall Thorne do?

< Message edited by falerin -- 6/7/2005 20:50:13 >
Post #: 8
6/8/2005 13:52:03   
Legendary Loremaster

"Lets go in" I said finally "I had been trapped in the desert after sunrise before and it had been an entirely unplesant experience. Worse if a sandstorm arose the chances of survival were slim to none. The only choice that assured us of getting out of the Sun in a timely fashion was to go into the city.

Kendrel, Culak, and I moved sown the shifting sand wall that marked the edge of the excavation and slid part way on a dune to the bottom of the basin. My clothing would be filled with sand for my efforts but it was the quickest and likely safest way to reach the bottom of the basin.

"These buildings are interconnected" Kendrel said "It is as if the entire city is one large building"

I looked at the buildings and saw that what Kendrel said was true. I had never before encountered such peculiar architecture in my travels.

"There has to be an enterance lets find it" I said and we began moving arround the outer periphery of the excavation untill at long last we came to a large hanging stone door. "Over hear"

I waited silently for Culak and Kendrel to reach the door before attempting to pull it open. I wholly expected that the door would resist my attempts at violating this ancient sanctum and was quite suprised when the door swung freely open. It moved amazingly well for a such a massive peice of stone worn by the sands of time. I examined the door and was struck by the odd precision of the cut and the seeming modernity of the technology involved in the doors construction. None of my previous experience told me to expect something of this nature.

"Shara-naga" Culak mouthed and I frowned.... next to the Drakel some of the Ulgathi were among the most technologically active races.. Culak's assesment did not seem far off... Though if this was indeed a legendary walled city it was like no K'eld I had ever heard described. The descriptions I had heard were of vast domed structures or of towering minurets encased in mile high walls...."

With a shrug Kendrel pushed pash Culak and I and entered the darkness that lay beyond the door way and Culak and I followed.

"Living creatures in some numbers have been through here and recently" Kendrel said matter of factly After centuries of wear the dust and sand on the floor should be settled and undisturbed but their are many scuff marks and what could be foot prints.

"Shara-naga" Culak repeated ominously

"Very likely" Kendrel responded. "The tracks are not disimilar to those left by the Drakel who attacked greenguard"

"We should just make camp here untill night fall then we can move on..."

"Our purpose in coming to Skraeling in the firstplace was to encounter the Drakel was it not? I fail to see why we would avoid that

"Shara-naga hidey holes mebbe many surprises many traps."

I weighed the choices in my mind....

Post #: 9
8/24/2005 14:24:34   
Legendary Loremaster

Having no better recourse we decided to move further into the strange interconnected city. Numerous labtynthine passages snaked away from our location but the passage of recent footsteps was quite apparent and that directed made our journey quite deliberately. It occured to me then to be concerned about a lack of breathable air in such an enclosed underground space. I had heard stories of miners falling down dead while mining shadow ore and I had no desire to join their lot.

When I voiced this concern aloud it was Culak who refuted it.

"The air moves here" He said simply and I could tell it was true. The air was cool and fresh and I could feel a breeze blowing gently. "Either there is a very big space or another opening to the above."

"Both are true..." A voice said suddenly its intonation of the common tonge was somewhat unusual, I had heard its like before however and knew what I would find even before I turned arround....


"Yoiur statement of the obvious is quite astute" The figure said then turning his head slightly "You are a servitor of the Order of Lorithia.... Very good... your assistance is required..."

"What?" I said befuddled that the Drakel was not only taking my presence in stride but was taking to impose himself upon my services.

"Your assistance is required Knight. I invoke the Sigma Directive... You must comply"

"What's this Sigma Directive" Kendrel asked.

"Its Code, old, it refers to resisting The'Galin the Uncreator."

"What then shall we do" Kendrel asked

I paused breifly to consider my options.

< Message edited by falerin -- 8/29/2005 10:46:50 >
Post #: 10
8/29/2005 11:05:31   
Legendary Loremaster

"The mandates of my order are quite clear in this regard. I have to follow. You however do not have to..." I said simply "The Sigma Directive is not one taken lightly it overrides all other pressing affairs. By invoking this Drakel has claimed that the invasion of the Devourer or his agents is imminent"

"And indeed it is" The Drakel responded "Come Human.... As to the Orc and Elf they may come as well if they travel with you... but we have little time and much ground to cover..."

It was fortunate I had dealings with the Drakel before. This sort of brusque commanding demeanor would be considered rude by any standard otherwise. As it happened I knew that it had to do with differences in communication. Having many questions to ask but wishing to show my aquiescence I began walking before continuing my questioning...

"Where are we going?" I asked noting with some satisfaction that both Kendrel and Culak followed as well...

"Some 30 miles or so" The Drakel said continuing to walk

"30 Miles or so? Below the surface?" I said finding it hard to credit his numbers

"That is correct" The Drakel said "Though we may meet with others of the order before then...."

"Is this a Drakel K'eld?" Kendrel asked. I was somewhat startled by the fact that the Elfs tone was genuinely interested rather then on guard. The Elves of Greenguard had not had an easy time with the Drakel of late.

"It is not a K'eld... but a Ne'eld and though its creators are Kruath'ri... it is a stretch to call them Drakel. Though perhaps not as all of the Dracomamalians have been given the name at one time or another"

"Citizens but not Drakel?" I said trying to process this... While I knew that the Drakel accepted non Drakel into society on rare occasiosn thoses accepted were always considered Drakel themselves by adoption. What could he mean.. Citizens but not Drakel... And Neld....? Neld was a small island nation in the ocean....

"The Ne'eld... which means submerged place.... is home of the Silari..."

"The Silari!" I said shocked. Culak and Kendrel who were relatively unfamiliar with ancient arcaeology looked merely confused... "Are you sure..."

"We are certain... The Silari are our brethren....Those who survived The'Galin became Drakel"

"This Place... it is not...." I said scarcely able to mutter the words that my mind was thinking

"This Ne'eld is The Childhood home of Xilar servitor of The'Galin" The Drakel said confirming my thoughts and taking me by total suprise... "Now we have a choice... The well traveled path that the other citizens have followed is long.... ancient maps tell of another way that is faster but the Silari last moved in these tunnels many thousands of years ago... the way was a side trail even in the time of activity. It may be overcome with debris in which case our travels would only be extended... Do we risk longer travel for the possibility of faster reward or do we press on the long way..."

< Message edited by Falerin -- 12/17/2006 23:27:03 >
Post #: 11
1/1/2006 0:12:55   
Legendary Loremaster

We had little time to waste. While I found the abrupt nature of the Drakel to be distressing. My directive was clear. I must thwart the will of The'galin.

"Time is short Humie" Culak said with a friendly enough nod and I was shaken from my reverie

"A well made point friend Orc" I replied and looked at the Drakel

"Lead on Kruath'ri we take the most direct path even at the risk it is over run"

"I would have much chance to regret this choice later..... but for now it was the only chouce I could have made"

< Message edited by falerin -- 9/22/2006 1:33:45 >
Post #: 12
9/22/2006 1:14:53   
Legendary Loremaster

We travelled for nearly an hour when the first rumbings let it be quite clear that taking this path to save time was a mistake. The sounds were loud and ominous and echoed through the underground chamber like some distant and ancient machinery grinding to a a final halt after years of use and abuse.

When we passed thorugh a narrow corridor we very barely avoided being burined by a rain of debris falling from the ceiling and sealing of the chambler.

So it was that by the second hour we were trapped thoroughly.

"The debris ahead is impassible" Kendrel reported to my dismay.

"Reversing our direction is not an option either....." The Drakel whose name I had learned since was Eligar said calmly. "The cave in is quite complete"

"I did no come this far to die trapped in the ruins of an ancient Silari city.... particularly not one which was so tainted by the Devourer's power....we have no choice but to risk further collapse and move the debris in one direction or the other..."

I noted that Culak was quiet during this debate and I turned to the Orc once again to hear his thoughts on the issue... "Do you agree that thats our only option"

"There is another option humee...."


"Dig" Culak said pointing down at the ground below our feet....

"I considered this.... dig through debris which might collapse and kill us... or dig through tough dirt, rock and stone, with tools quite improper for the job....."

< Message edited by falerin -- 9/22/2006 1:34:25 >
Post #: 13
9/30/2006 19:40:01   
Legendary Loremaster

The Ulgathi have a saying. 'The most dangerous trap for the wise is thinking that thinking is enough' After some brief consideration we determined that digging without appropriate tools was not really an option. We would only damage our weapons and make very little progress. Turning arround and going backward would only serve to delay our progress. This left only one option other then surrender to fate and so we proceeded to begin clearing away the rubble.

The work was slow and delicate but we seemed to make progress clearing first a small cubby and eventually a tunnelway through the fallen debris. Movement through this tunnel was equally slow... because the front most person constantly had to ferry new peices of debris out of the tunnel in front so that progress would continue. Worse the debris feild seemed to be larger then we had anticipated and we were several hundred meters and still digging after three hours.

"So much for saving time by going the direct way" I sighed aloud feeling just a tad sorry for myself. I had been aware of the risks and had chosen what I believed to be the best course of action. Thinking back it might be easy to have reversed my decision but the indirect path might have been as frought with danger as it the way we took.....

"My people have a saying" The Drakel said then looking at me, it occured to me I still did not know his name or anything else about him but here I was laboring to clear a tunnel with him. "The past is for learning not for worrying"

"A wise saying" Kendrel remarked and seemed to be about to say something else but Culak grunted sharply.

"What is it Culak" I asked....

"The ground shifts humee"

"What do you mean shifts I felt nothing...." Kendrel said but I held up a hand. I had worked in excavations before and I listed carefully and felt the ground beneath groan and rumble slightly.

"Culak is right... withdraw quickly but carefully......" Even as I gave the instruction however I knew that it was given to late... We had been so worried about cave in's trapping us we had not considered the possibility that the rubble beneath us was unstable and might cover some sort of hole....

"We will not make it" the Drakel remarked.. "gather very close"

The Drakel extended tapped at a device on his wrist and some sort of barrier manifested arround us slowing our 200 meter fall into the hole beneath us and sheltering us somewhat from the debris.

"Is everyone ok....." I said when the rain of debris had abated. Kendrel and Culak both indicated the affirmative and I then turned to the Drakel who seemed pale and haggard...

"What is it?" I asked him concerned.

"The Device draws upon the life force of the wearer in order to prevent grave physical harm... It converts energy into a kind of sheild. It is not meant to protect four people and with that he collapsed the device blinking off....

"We are in serious trouble" I said and Kendrel merely grunted but Culak as peering off to the left

"What is it Culak...." I asked

"Air humee.. it moves here...."

"He is right" Kendrel remarked.

"Then its a way out lets move some of the debris.."

We carefully uncovered what proved to be a very slender tunnel...

"Tool Marks" Kendrel remarked. "This is either a ventilation or sewage tunnel"

"And fresh air means it leads to an open area" I said "But we have a problem... what do we do about the Drakel"

Post #: 14
10/12/2006 18:39:48   
Legendary Loremaster

“We cannot leave the Drakel” I said with a frown “Nor can I ask you to risk your lives by remaining with me. Go on ahead and see if you can find a way out perhaps you can locate the rest of the Drakel’s party and summon help.”

“They may not be pleased to see us humee” Culak noted “The Shara Naga and the Ulgathi do not get along well, and the Shara Naga and the Elani get along even worse.”

“Indeed” Kendrel agreed “In addition they will have no Idea whom we are and why we are here.”

“Just tell them you were sent in response to the Sigma directive they will respond.”

“If you say so” Kendrel said doubtful “I have not known them to be highly rational before when searching for their coveted items.

Time in that confined space seemed to crawl toward infinity, alone with my thoughts and the laboring Drakel. I have no real idea of how much time passed before the Drakel finally awoke.

“You stayed” The Drakel observed.

“I did” I said

“You are a credit to your order Thorne Lorin few would have”

“I do not know about that.” Then changing the subject “Are you well”

“I am injured and weakened… but assuming I can get free of this place I will survive”

“You know I have been sitting here with you for some time, and the longer I sit more I realize, I know absolutely nothing about you. Yet you risked your life to save mine. In all of this your people remain an enigma.”

“This is likely so” The Drakel remarked with what I feel sure was a sardonic smile.

I sat silent for a few moments considering the situation.

“What is your name?” I finally asked plainly.

“Terul'sith” The Drakel responded “I am Terul’sith”

“Well Terul’sith we are fairly stuck. I sent Culak and Kendrel some time ago to seek aid from your people but they have not returned. It seems like ages have passed”

“That is alarming” Terul'sith answered “There are many dangers inside these ruins”

“So then what shall we do?”

< Message edited by falerin -- 10/13/2006 2:52:30 >
Post #: 15
1/22/2007 22:45:42   
Legendary Loremaster

"If you are well enough to travel Terul'sith then it is perhaps best that we continue together. I would not wish anything to happen to you without me arround to aid you, and your knowledge of the Silari ruins will be valuable"

"I will survive Thorne Lorin, I surived the crash and I will surive this. However, once we find Kendrel and Culak, I think it is perhaps time we disregard the ruins" Terul'sith responded.

"Disregard?" I replied curious "What do you mean"

"My companions will have already moved on. Several of us were seriously injured. When I sensed your presence I was dispatched to find you immediately. They would not have waited for long here, not with the other Drakel skulking about."

We began pushing through and eventually were able to make it through the same narrow passage way from which Kendrel and Culak had exited our cave in. To my delight after a very short distance it dropped into a narrow but very much open passageway. The signs of recent travel clearly indicated that Kendrel and Culak had continued in this direction.

"What do you mean injured. What is this crash? What events are so severe that you invoked the Sigma directive and these other Drakel.... I thought you were with them. What makes you and your companions different."

"Not all of us are created the same Thorne Lorin. The answers you seek are detailed and will take much time. For now suffice I shall say this. The majority of my companions are not Drakel at all. Not all Drakel even those local to this area serve the same purpose or goals. There are some even after the great strife that the Devourer caused them that would seek to turn to his service in hopes of gaining his favor. Some of these latter move about actively. It is they that concern me. If Culak and Kendrel were captured by such Drakel their fates could be most dire. As for me... I am different because I was not even born on this world.... though my distant ancestors were"

"Wait what?"

"It will have to wait Lorin" A voice said and I turned and to my emense relief saw Kendrel with Culak standing stiffly at his side

"What happened why did you take so long"

"We found strange Shara-Naga's friends" Culak said "They go back to the site"

"Site?" I asked

"When we came back through with equipment to aid you" Kendrel continued heedless of my question hoisting a shovel "We almost immediately encountered movement of the Drakel forces. They were far less then happy to see us. Culak and I had to kill off one of their foot patrols and then spent the better part of 3 hours avoiding them and weaving our way back to you. I am relieved to see that we do not have to dig you out ourselves."

"No time" Culak nodded "Shara-Naga army is hot on our heels"

"On your heels?" I responded. "Then we best decide what to do and fast"

< Message edited by Falerin -- 1/22/2007 23:02:35 >
Post #: 16
5/9/2007 15:31:56   
Legendary Loremaster

We followed Terul'sith through the darkened corridors for nearly two hours before coming to the surface and beginning to undertake our journey.

"It was bloody" Terul'sith said suddenly. "Many of us are dead. The child is even dying."

"What was?" I asked confused by the sudden somber pronouncement. "What child?"

"We were cast through time and space... it was...." Terul'sith staggered then and Culak reached out to catch him.

"Whoa Shara-Naga" Culak barked "Rest now"

"Yes", Terul'sith responded "I do need to sit down."

"We seem to have lost the Drakel" Kendrel responded.

"Shara-Naga mebbe tell story now?" Culak remarked.

"Yes.... tell us your story Terul'sith. Who have you come with"

"We are known as the Order. We arrived in a Network Ship"

"How does a Drakel from another world end up on this one? What is the Order? What is a Network Ship? What happened to you? And what has it to do with The'Galin....Who was this child?"

"I can answer only one question at a time Thorne. Which would you have me answer first?"

Post #: 17
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